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New York, February, 1865. 

To Hon. Charles Sumner, Senator from Mass. 

Sir: — An eminent gentleman of Boston remarked, 
with great force and truth, that " fanaticism hardens the heart 
and darkens the understanding ; and Avhere there is neither 
common sense, nor common charity, the very first step in a 
process of reasoning cannot be taken/' 

The author of this remark must have had you in his 
mind's eye when he wrote this sentence. All who know you 
are compelled to admit you have no common sense. You 
are as remarkable for want of it as you are for your preten- 
sions of scholarship, and of being an earnest man, deeply 
sjonpathizing with distressed humanity. I shall satisfy all 
who read what I have to say of you, that you are not only 
destitute of charity, but full of malice. 

It is no feeling of retaliation that urges me to address you 
this communication. I would not inflict personal injury up- 
on you if you were in my power ; but I owe it to my friends, 
especially in Massachusetts, to defend my character against 
your slanders, or rather to show them who my assailant is. 
Had you attacked me under your own name, as you did in 
the Senate, in June, 1862, I should have regarded it with 
indifference, as I did that attack. When I saw in some 
newspaper that you had animadverted, in terms of censure, 
upon my conduct as Military Governor of North Carolina, I 
remarked that it was all fair, only " tit for tat," for, some years 
ago, in the House of Representatives, while I was a Member of 

Congress for that State, I had assailed you, and had no right 
to complain now. But when you write an article for a liter- 
ary periodical, among whose contributors are several gentle- 
men of high character, and no information is given that the 
public may know who is the author, that is a different affair. 
Then I have a right to bring my traducer before the bar of 
public opinion, and to expose the motive which instigated 
the slander. 

In April, 1862, I had the honor to receive, in San Fran- 
cisco, from Mr. Stanton, Secretary of War, a telegraphic de- 
spatch, announcing my appointment as Military Governor of 
North Carolina. It was entirely unexpected and unsolicited. 
I accepted — glad of an opportunity to render any service to 
my country. I had not been in North Carolina a week, be- 
fore I was made the subject of most unjust vituperation, as 
I will presently show. Letter- writers reported to newspapers 
not what they knew, but all the "it is said" reports to 
my discredit. Editors dealt in terms of abuse, and clergy- 
men, thirsting for the applause of mobs, tired of preaching 
peace on earth and good will to men, wearied with the celes- 
tial truths of Holy Writ, turned aside to prey on the garbage 
of abolition slander. 

During a visit to Washington city, a few days ago, being 
reluctant to believe you were a malignant man, wishing to 
act according to the golden rule of doing unto others as we 
would they should do unto us, and desiring to avoid per- 
sonalities in anything I should publish in my defence, I 
sought an interview with you, in order that I might submit 
to you some evidence to induce you, in a Christian and gentle- 
manly spirit, to make reparation for the injustice done me by 
your article on " Our Domestic Eolations," published in the 
Atlantic Monthly. 

I was sadly mistaken. But before I refer specially to 
that interview, and to the letter which followed it, it is prop- 
er to say, that you made reference to a speech I had made in 
Congress some years ago. 

Hinc illce lacrymce. It was but too apparent that the 
recollection of that speech was rankling in your heart. I had 
not forgotten, as I told you, that I had made the speech. 
On the next day, I went to the Congressional Library, to see 
whether the speech had been reported, for that I did not 

In the appendix to the Congressional Globe, 3'2d Con- 
gress, 1st Session, page 694, I found the cause of your en- 
mity. The speech was delivered on the 12th of June, 185*2. 
There is no statute of limitations, Mr. Sumner, to your hate. 

The following quotation from that speech was in your re- 
tentive memory when you wrote " Our Domestic Rela- 
tions : " . 

" And who is now the representative in the Senate of the Coalition 
in Massachusetts? Charles Sumner. "What a fall was there, my country- 
men ! In that greatest of great speeches, delivered by Mr. "Webster, in re- 
ply to Hayne — a speech which would have made its author immortal, had 
he made no other — there is a beautiful apostrophe to Massachusetts. ' There 
6he stands,' he said ; ' look at her.' For many years past the country 
has said, with pride, pointing to her Senators — look at her ! But then, 
Webster and Davis were there ; then, Ohoate and Wiuthrop were there. 
But who says look at her now? "Whom has she given us by democratic 
votes as the successor of Webster and Winthrop ? Look on that pic- 
ture, and then on this, O Massachusetts ! and hide your diminished head! 
Her present senator is the author of a speech 'on our present anti- 
slavery duties,' at the Free Soil State Convention in Boston, October 
3d, 1850, some extracts from which were published in the Republic 
newspaper, a few days ago. In that speech, among other things, the 
Democratic Coalition success or ofWebster thus spoke of the Fugitive Law 
and of the President : 

" ' Into the immortal catalogue of national crimes this has now passed, 
drawing with it, by an inexorable necessity, its authors also; and chiefly 
him, who, as President of the United States, set his name to the bill, and 
breathed into it that final breath, without which it would have no life. 
Other presidents may be forgotten, but the name signed to the Fugitive Bill 
can never be forgotten. There are depths of infamy, as there are heights 
of fame. I regret to say what I must, but truth compels me. Better far 
for him had he never been born. Better far for his memory and for the 
good name of his children, had he never been President.' 

"And yet, sir, the man who made this speech has been so des- 

titute of all regard for .propriety, as to be seen visiting the President, 
whose situation compels him to receive all visitors! Oh! shame, where 
is thy blush? I shall, hereafter, have another word to say of this wicked 
speech. In place of Webster, the journeymen platform-builders in Massa- 
chusetts have sent us a fantastic Malvolio, who puts himself into the 
trick of singularity ; and, by a peculiar tact for thrusting himself where 
he is not wanted, he seeks commendation for his 'yellow stockings,' when 
he is ' cross-gartered.' When he speaks, we look at him ; and, remember- 
ing his speeches to Free Soil Conventions, we say, 'O, peace! Con- 
templation makes a rare turkey-cock of him. How he jets under his 
advanced plumes ! ' " 

It was to this speech, Mr. Sumner, that you alluded in 
our recent interview. I confess it does not present you in a 
flattering point of view ; but what honest man will say, the 
facts being correct, that it was not a just rebuke ? "I 
regret to say what I must, but truth compels me." This is 
not the only instance in your conduct of a total disregard 
for all propriety. 

If I mistake not, you were at college with the Hon. R. C. 
Winthrop. While he was in Congress, shortly after the 
United States had declared war against Mexico, you visited 
Washington, and, of course — being noted as one given to 
hospitality in accepting invitations — you accepted his invita- 
tion to dinner. Shortly before coming to Washington, you had 
anonymously assailed your old friend and college-mate with 
coarse abuse. Yet, not dreading the " depths of infamy/' you 
ate of his salt, and " smiled and smiled " while drinking his 
wine ! You soon returned to Boston, and renewed your ca- 
lumnious assaults upon the gentleman of whose generous hos- 
pitality you had just partaken. 

Mr. Winthrop made some publication, appended, I be- 
lieve, to a volume of his speeches, in which he gave you a 
just rebuke, and declined further social intercourse with you. 
From this publication and from conversation with other 
gentlemen I learn this fact ; I do not remember ever to have 
heard him mention your name. Can I be grieved because I 
am calumniated by such a man as this " earnest " Charles 
Sumner ? 

" I regret to say what I must, but truth compels me." 
Upon another occasion — I have forgotten what— probably at 
a free-soil convention, or a meeting of spirit-rappers, or a 
woman's rights convention, or a peace society, where you have 
always secured the most rapturous applause — you wantonly 
vilified a gentleman of high character in the city of Boston — 
a man respected for his strong intellect, and honored for his 
public services and private virtues — I mean the late Nathan 
Appleton — and shortly afterwards, entirely unconscious that 
you had been "personal," having only referred to him 
" simply for illustration," you called on Mr. Appleton, when 
you were told, as I have frequently heard, that your visits 
were not welcome and must not be repeated. The Malvolio 
of the Senate was no doubt surprised at Mr. Appleton's no- 
tions of propriety. 

When you came to the Senate, Mr. Sumner, it is well 
known that for a long time you were silent upon anti-slavery 
questions ; your policy then was, to " scorn the base degrees," 
by which you had ascended, and to ingratiate yourself into 
the society of Southern gentlemen. The abolition press 
began to annoy you by complaints that you lacked nerve, 
" had no backbone," &c, had been corrupted by association 
with slave-holders. One gentleman of high character and 
position, to whom a friend of yours sought to introduce you, 
at a levee at the Presidential mansion, turned his back upon 
you, declining to be introduced to Mr. Sumner. It is un- 
necessary to cite other well-known instances of like character. 
It was not because you were a violent anti-slavery man that 
you were despised ; Adams, Hale, Seward, Chase, King, and 
others had been older and abler soldiers in the anti-slavery 
cause, but they were gentlemen, not whining sycophants, 
or secret slanderers of public men ; they were honored for 
their integrity, abilities, and private virtues, by gentlemen 
from all sections : they were never accused of partaking of a 
gentleman's hospitality and then stabbing his reputation in 
the dark. There is another cause for your hate of every 


Southern gentleman. You were the victim of an outrage, 
when you received a blow in the Senate-Chamber from a 
Southern man : an outrage justly condemned by every 
Christian patriot in our country, and by none more than by 
myself. And since you recovered " backbone " enough to 
resume your seat in the Senate, your imagination from every 
inkstand bodies forth a revolver, from every pen a bludgeon, 
in the hands of a Southern man. 

These things account for your want of charity, and for 
the dread and horror you entertain at the thought of peace, 
which may bring back again to Congress some of those you 

bo sincerely hate ; for you would as soon " meet the d 1 

alone," as see the Southern States again represented in the 

But to return to the " Atlantic Monthly." When my 
attention was called to " Our Domestic Kelations," your 
name was not given as the author. I have already stated, 
that had your name appeared as the author, I should have 
passed it by without concern ; that not being the case, the 
following correspondence took place : 

San Francisco, November 28£7i, 1863. 
To Messes. Ticknor & Fields, Boston. 
Gentlemen : — 

In the " Atlantic Monthly " of October, published by yon, there is an 
Article entitled " Our Domestic Relations," in which, on page 509, appears 
the following : 

" The conduct of at least one of our military magistrates seems to have 
been a counterpart to that of these ' bashaws' of Cromwell, and there is 
no argument against that early despotism, which may not be urged against 
any attempt to revive it in our day. Some of the acts of Governor Stanly 
in North Carolina, are in themselves an argument against the whole 

My purpose in addressing you is to ascertain the name of the author of 
the article, in which so unjust and unfounded an imputation is made 
against me. I may be able to satisfy him that he has been imposed on 
by malignant libellers; that "some of the acts" of which he has heard 
were committed after consultation with, and upon the advice of Major- 
Generals Burnside and Foster, commanding the Department of North 

Carolina, while I was acting as Military Governor ; that these acts were 
reported to the President and Secretary of War, and after examination, 
my conduct was approved by them ; that some of the attacks against me 
in the newspapers were misrepresentations of " some of the acts " referred 
to, and have been proved such. 

I do not object to — on the contrary, I solicit — the most severe scrutiny 
of some, or of all my acts, while I was Military Governor of North 
Carolina. If it were supposable that the author of the article could have 
been influenced by vindictive feelings, and would be glad of an oppor- 
tunity of indulging them upon sufficient excuse, I would inform him, he 
has my defiance to afford your readers, or the public through any other 
channel, an elaborate and searching review, of any or of all " the acts " 
referred to. 

If he be a gentleman, incapable of doing injustice — of striking an an- 
tagonist from behind — if he be not one who is " willing to wound, and 
yet afraid to strike," I wish to ask him to specify "some of the acts of 
Governor Stanly in North Carolina " which have provoked the remarks 
in the " Atlantic Monthly," which I have quoted. 

In this way only can I furnish a proper defence, at the proper time. 

I am the more sensitive in relation to this, because the attack comes 
from Massachusetts, to whose fame I have never been unjust; with most 
of whose sons — some illustrious dead and living — whom I liave met in 
public life, it has been my good fortune to be on the most friendly terms : 
we have often taken " sweet counsel together," to resist the attempts of 
the wicked men who have caused this horrible war ; with some of her 
sons my pride has been and is, that I possessed evidences of their esteem. 

"While I do not suppose you will allow the " Atlantic Monthly " to be 
used for personal controversies, yet I believe you will not allow any man 
to be assailed unjustly, by any of your contributors. If it be not contrary 
to the rules by which your conduct as publishers is governed, I hope you 
will give me the name of the author of " Our Domestic Eelations," and 
do me the justice to publish this letter, that your readers may be informed 
Istand ready, when specifications are given, to defend any attack upon 
my conduct as Military Governor, and to prove that, while discharging 
the most painful and embarrassing duties of the office, I did nothing that 
I wish concealed from public examination ; nothing unbecoming a Chris- 
tian or a gentleman ; nothing to bring reproach on the administration, or 
on my own, I trust, hitherto unstained reputation. 

Very respectfully yours, &c. 



Boston, January 19ZA, 1864. 
Hon. Edward Stanly, San Francisco. 
Dear Sir: — 
Your favor of November 28th came to hand this morning. 
Hon. Charles Sumner, Senator from Massachusetts, is the author of the 
article referred to by you, to whom we must refer you for such explana- 
tion as you desire. He will doubtless be happy to give it. 
"We send you by this mail a copy of the article. 

Yery truly yours, 


San Francisco, February \Qth, 1864. 
To the Hon. Charles Sumner, Washington City. 
Sir :— 

In answer to a letter from myself, addressed to Messrs. Ticknor & 
Fields, of Boston, they inform me that you are the author of an article 
in the " Atlantic Monthly," of October, 1863, entitled " Our Domestic 

I enclose a copy of my letter to the publishers of the "Atlantic 

I have not the slightest objection to any examination of my conduct 
while I was acting as Military Governor in North Carolina. I admit the 
right of any citizen to examine and censure any or all of "the acts of the 
Military Governor." 

But I have the right, when thus assailed, to ask, as I now do, very 
respectfully, that you would specify " some of the acts" which you think 
deserve the condemnation you have given them. 

My purpose in writing this communication is explained in the letter 

Your obedient servant, &c. 


Senate Chamber, May 18£A, 1864. 
Dear Sir: — 

Your letter of 18th February, which was handed to my clerk, has been 
over-laid by a mass of unanswered letters, so as to have passed out of 
mind, until my attention was again called to it. 

Let me say to you frankly that in my brief allusion to yon, I intended 
nothing personal. Public attention had been already called to certain 
incidents during your administration of North Carolina, which seemed to 
my mind to show the impolicy of such a military system of government, 
and I referred to them simply for illustration. 

In reply to your inquiry as to these acts, I beg to refer you to a 


pamphlet which has recently appeared in New York, entitled "Brief 
report of the services rendered by the Freed People to the United States 
Army in North Carolina in the spring of 1862, after the battle of New- 
bern, by Vincent Colyer, Superintendent, &c, of the Poor, under Major- 
General Burnside. Illustrated. New York, published by Vincent Colyer, 
105 Bleecker street, 1864." 

Faithfully yours, 

P. S. The pamphlet contains an enumeration of the acts. 

This brings me to Mr. Colyer's pamphlet. I attempted, 
while in San Francisco, unsuccessfully, to obtain a copy. 
After some trouble, on my reaching this city recently, I 
procured one. 

The " enumeration of the acts," in Mr. Colyer's pamph- 
let, will be found on page 55, in the following paragraph : 

" The searching of my premises for Harriet the slave-girl, by Bray, and 
his carrying back of another, having an order in writing from Governor 
Stanly, permitting him to do so ; the order given to the captain of the steam- 
er Haze, and, it was said, to others, forbidding him from taking any freedmen 
North, under pain of the confiscation of his vessel ; the promise to Mr. 
Perry of $1,000 for the man Sam Williams, whom I had taken North with 
me; the demand upon General Burnside for that amount, because I had 
not returned Sam ; the expatriation of Mr. Helper ; all these acts of Gov- 
ernor Stanly, which were known to hundreds, make it unnecessary for 
me to say any more." 

For the sake of human nature, I could almost wish I had 
done some unkind act to Mr. Colyer, that could have given 
him some excuse for deliberately writing that paragraph. I 
have heard that Mr. Colyer was a " preacher," as well as an 
artist. When he called to see me, in North Carolina, he 
was treated with all the respect due to a clergyman. I am 
not conscious that I have ever done him wrong. Yet, after 
twelve months, or more, had passed away, without excuse, 
without the hope of doing good to any one, and without pro- 
vocation, he has published a pamphlet filled with misrep- 
resentation of my conduct. 

In the sentences quoted there are three falsehoods, some 


of which I will prove by General Burnside, whom Mr. Colyer 
has tried to make a witness to support his statements. 

As soon as I succeeded in procuring a copy of the Keport 
in which Mr. Sumner found an " enumeration of the acts of 
the Military Governor/' and saw General Burnside's name 
mentioned to support Mr. Colyer's charges, I addressed a letter 
to the General, enclosing the extract quoted above, and asked 
him to give me a statement relative to the matters comment- 
ed on in the pamphlet. 

His answer I give below. His character, as a patriot- 
soldier and Christian gentleman, ensures credit for any state- 
ment he may make. I wish General Burnside's letter re- 
membered in connection with what I shall state hereafter. 

Providence, E. I., Jan. 16th, 1865. 
Hon. Edward Stanly 

My Bear Sir: — I beg to own the receipt of your letter of the 9th 
instant, referring to a paragraph in a pamphlet written by Mr. Vincent 

I have never seen the pamphlet, but in reference to the passage you 
quote, I do not hesitate to say that you never made a demand of me for 
payment for any person's slave ; neither did I hear you promise payment 
to any one for slaves. At Newbern you came to me, in company with 
a Mr. Perry, who had remained at home when we entered the place, and 
who was among the first, if not the first, of those who took the oath of 

The joint proclamation issued by Commodore Goldsborough and my- 
self, in accordance with our instructions, assured those who remained at 
home that, as far as possible, their persons and property would be pro- 

As in all instances, where places have been suddenly and forcibly oc- 
cupied by troops, many depredations were committed by our people 
at Newbern ; and Mr. Perry, who had suffered among others, felt that 
he should have some redress. Both you and I advised him to trust to the 
Government, and at the same time expressed the opinion that the Gov- 
ernment would pay loyal citizens for property appropriated to the public 
service; but no promise or demand was, to my knowledge, made by 
any one. 

The status of the negro had not been well defined at the time, by the 
Government, and I was instructed to say as little about it as possible; so 
that all my actions and conversations w T ere necessarily guarded. 


The emancipation proclamation of the President bad not been issued 
at the time. 

There was much excitement in tbe city, I remember, in reference to 
negro schools, and ill-advised steps were taken by some of the soldiers to 
exasperate the negroes. I advised you to have a guard at your quartsrs 
and accordingly ordered one there. 

I have always understood from you that you did not order the schools 
closed ; but know nothing of it personally. One of our soldiers was ar- 
rested for making a speech denunciatory of you, but was released at your 

Mr. Helper was sent off, by your order, for writing you a very violent 
letter; and, a3 I remember it, I entirely coincided with you. 

In closing, I am glad to say that, while in North Carolina, our official 
intercourse was characterized by a disposition, on your part, to cooperate 
with and assist me, on all occasions ; whilst our personal intercourse was 
of the most friendly nature. 

I have the honor to be, 

Very respectfully yours, 


Thus, it will be seen Mr. Colyer's witness does not sup- 
port him. 

I am sorry to say Mr. Colyer is guilty of deliberate false- 
hood. His sketches with his pencil are most silly and ludic- 
rous exaggerations ; but they contain as much truth as the 
representations made by his pen. 

I did give Mr. Bray and his wife permission to search for 
their slave-girl. I would do so again, under the same cir- 
cumstances. His wife informed me she had been carried off 
against her consent ; was in bad health, and needed nursiDg 
and such attendance as could not be had in the crowded 
state of the houses occupied by the negroes, who were then 
dying on an average of ten per day. I believed this state- 
ment. Mr. Bray had given no aid or comfort to the rebel- 
lion. He resided a short distance from the town, within our 
lines. In fact, part or the whole of a regiment was encamp- 
ed on his land, and within sight of his house ; so there was 
no probability that the "slave-girl" could be carried among 
the rebels. I had never seen the girl. Such a painter as 
Mr. Colyer may be of " imagination all compact." He can 


see " Helen's beauty in a brow of Egypt." He speaks more 
than once of the " great beauty of many of the quadroon 
girls, who attended my school, for the more advanced 

From what I heard and believed, I thought I was rescu- 
ing the slave-girl from a den of infamy, and restoring her to 
a virtuous home. 

There was one other case, that I remember, of what Mr. 
Colyer calls " returning fugitive slaves to their owners." 

Two respectable persons, man and wife, more than sixty 
years old, were living in Beaufort, North Carolina, where they 
had resided more than forty years. Several valuable slaves 
had left them, and they were suddenly reduced from a condi- 
tion of comfortable independence to poverty, and without any 
accusation of giving aid and comfort to the enemy. They had 
a colored child, seven years old, a pet of her mistress, raised 
in her house, and fed from her own table. These old people 
had no children. Several soldiers had entered their dwelling, 
and forcibly taken the child away. I ordered the child to be 
returned to her home. There was no possibility it could be car- 
ried out of our lines. The town was under the 'guns of Fort 
Macon, and there was no rebel soldier within thirty miles. 
I believe I was right, and would do so again, under the same 

And for these acts, Mr. Colyer — bearing false witness 
against his neighbor — would hold me up to the country as 
one engaged in catching runaway slaves, and sending them 
to the rebel lines. 

When slaves came within our lines, the property of rebels, 
I not only protected them, but recommended them for em- 
ployment on our forts, and, in some instances, secured pay- 
ment of their wages. I will not waste time by replying to 
what correspondents of papers have written. Their commu-n 
nications bear intrinsic evidence of having been inspired by 
Mr. Colyer. It is enough to prove that he is guilty of false- 
hood, without replying to letter-writers, who had no personal 


knowledge of what they wrote, but merely gave rumors — 
"it is said," "it is reported," etc., etc. 

It was my misfortune, Mr. Sumner, to have been born in 
a slave-holding country, and to have been a slave-holder ; 
but, while living among them — the world contains no better 
Christians, no better people— I never saw the day when I 
would not as soon have stolen a sheep as to have taken any 
part in catching a runaway slave. I know you cannot ap- 
preciate this feeling, not peculiar to me, but belonging to 
every Southern gentleman. 

I would as soon have accepted an invitation to dine with 
an old college-mate, just after vilifying him, anonymously, in 
the newspapers ; have sat by his side, and, while drinking 
his wine, have been preparing my next essay, to be publish- 
ed a few days after the dinner, as to have taken any part in 
catching a runaway slave. 

The employment of a butcher or a scavenger may be hon- 
est and honorable, but I have no taste for either occupa- 

While residing in North Carolina, in 1849, I was the 
owner of a slave -woman, whose parents had been the prop- 
erty of my father. She was married to a man whose owner 
resided in the town where I dwelt. Her husband escaped to 
a Northern State, and she soon followed him. I would never 
listen to a suggestion to take any steps to bring her back. 
She was honest, faithful, and of good character. As soon as 
I learned where she was, and while the Fugitive Law was in 
force, several years before this civil war, I had sent her, to the 
care of an ex-Member of Congress, a deed of emancipation. I 
was unwilling that she should even suffer from the apprehen- 
sion of being arrested. Her father, who was an honest, re- 
ligious man, and a good servant, had reposed confidence in 
me, and I would not, for his sake, have dealt unkindly with 
his child. 

And this is not the only instance of like conduct on my 


If by any possibility I should be tempted to write my 
autobiography, I could give a chapter as follows : 

In the town of Newbern, where I was born, free negroes 
voted, as late as the year 1835, when a State Convention 
(after abolitionists had been engaged in their diabolical work, 
and an insurrection had taken place in Virginia) by a small 
majority deprived them of the privilege. 

We had then borough representation — five or six 
towns sending each one member. My father had often 
represented the town in the State Legislature. About three 
hundred voters resided in Newbern, and of these sixty were 
free negroes, who generally voted, without exception, for him. 
It was said of him, after his death, by one who had known 
him from infancy, that no man, no matter what the color of 
his skin, had ever sought his assistance in distress, and failed 
to find a ready advocate and a friend. 

The first time I ever voted, it was in company with a 
freed man emancipated by my father, for meritorious conduct, 
but a few months before. (By the way, this old gentleman, 
for he is one, was alive when I last heard from him. He 
was living in Kinston when General Foster captured the 
town, on his successful attempt to destroy the rail-road 
near Goldsboro. General Foster, to prevent pillage and 
robbery, had ordered the Provost-Marshal to place guards to 
protect private property. An abolition colonel, entertaining 
your opinions, claiming to out-rank the Provost-Marshal, dis- 
charged the guard, and told his soldiers to enter houses and 
help themselves. Among others this old freed-man was 
robbed. He was a barber — they stole his razors and all his 
money, some of which an old friend of his had sent but a few 
weeks before. Cannot you and the " Keverend " Mr. Colyer 
raise a subscription and make amends to this honest and un- 
offending negro ? I would gladly co-operate even with such 
men — par nobile fratrum — in so good a work). 

While residing in North Carolina, I on three occasions 
defended negroes, accused of murder for killing white men. 


In two of the cases I succeeded in saving their lives. This 
was after I had been in Congress Some prudent friends 
intimated I might suffer in public opinion by undertaking 
their defence. I mention to the honor of the good people 
I represented, it had no such effect, for I was again elected to 
represent them. 

I had the honor to be for a short period Attorney General 
of North Carolina, and it became my official duty to prose- 
cute persons indicted for capital felonies. A free negro w T as 
tried for killing a white man, and it was an easy matter, 
without offending public sentiment, and in apparent accor- 
dance with duty, to have urged his conviction. I might 
have succeeded. I hope I thought of a " higher law," when, 
by my consent, he was acquitted of the crime of murder. 

Who, but one as mean-spirited as you, as unchristian 
and malignant as Mr. Colyer, would accuse me of trying to 
catch runaway slaves ? 

I fear I may offend good taste by this egotism. But I 
speak only the truth, and am vindicating a name, unstained 
by dishonor, from false and cowardly slanders. 

Mr. Colyer cannot criticise it, for though in one of his 
reports he quotes a text of Scripture, " He that speaketh of 
himself seeketh his own glory," he proceeds, with the most 
silly and disgusting self-adulation, to claim credit that he 
never deserved, for acts that he never performed. It were 
an easy matter to strip him of his jackdaw plumes ; but I 
forbear. I will not go further than self-defence will justify. 
He may publish pamphlets full of fanciful accounts ; he may 
revel in his self-glorification, and be as proud of his efforts as 
his prototype Jack Horner was, when he " pulled out a 
plum," and he will have no annoyance at my hands. But he 
must not slander me, under the apparent sanction of an 
honorable name. 

So much for my conduct in returning fugitive slaves. 

Mr. Colyer says, in the extract quoted, that I gave orders 


to the captain of a steamer, "forbidding him from taking 
any freed-men North, under pain of the confiscation of his 

If such an order was given, it was in writing : Mr. Colyer 
cannot find any honest man who will say I ever threatened 
to confiscate his vessel. I have lived a sober man, and never 
been crazy. I will confess I should have been sent to a 
lunatic asylum, and not appointed Military Governor, or to 
some home for the inebriate, if I ever made such a threat. 
Orders forbidding the carrying away of negroes — stealing 
" men-servants and maid-servants " I call it — were given by 
one or both of the major-generals commanding the depart- 
ment of North Carolina. 

These officers wanted the services of the men in building 
forts and making roads, &c, and I tried to prevent the steal- 
ing of property of any kind, which was the chief cause of the 
deep hostility manifested towards me. I should as soon have 
thought of " confiscating " a gunboat or a fortification, as of 
confiscating a vessel belonging to, or chartered by, the 
Government. I should as soon have thought of confiscat- 
ing Mr. Colyer, — if a thing of no value could be confiscated. 

The charge that I made a " promise " to Mr. Perry, for 
the man whom Mr. Colyer had " taken North," is. false. 

The charge that I made a " demand upon General Burn- 
side," &c, is proved to be false by the General's letter. 

Some of Mr. Colyer's " friends " hated rebels, but hated 
Union-men worse. They could not have the much-coveted 
excuse for " finding things " — " trophies," as they called 
libraries, pianos, carpets, mirrors, and household furniture — 
and " taking them North." Mr. Perry was a good Union- 
man, and therefore incurred the hostility of the trophy-finders. 
In intelligence and patriotism, he was greatly superior to Mr. 
Colyer ; in all respects — except writing fancy reports, and 


drawing caricatures with his pencil — his equal. Mr. Colyer 
injured him, and therefore, according to the Spanish proverb, 
hated him. 

Our troops had plundered and damaged Mr. Perry's farm 
and other property. He had a blooded horse, valued at four 
thousand dollars — " found, trophied, and taken North," for 
which he received no compensation. If it be asked how these 
matters were managed, the answer is : sometimes the quarter- 
masters having charge of the steamboats were abolition 
orators and politicians, not West-Pointers. 

And now for the " expatriation of Mr. Helper," — the last 
mentioned of the wicked "acts of the military governor." 

The letter of General Burnside states how great was the 
excitement, and what he thought of the danger in which I 
was placed from the negroes. The population of the 
town, white and black, was, I think, about five thousand, 
when the rebellion broke out. When I reached Newbern, it 
was estimated there were more than eight thousand negroes 
in the town ; of course, many of them strangers to me, for 
it had been more than twenty years since I resided 

When General Burnside ordered a guard to my quarters, 
I told him I would trust my life in the hands of the negroes 
who had known my father, and known me ; it was only 
because many of them had come from a distance, that there 
was any apprehension on my part. 

My memory is, that I had not been there a week before 
Mr. Colyer abruptly closed his schools and commenced his 
agitation. I had no hostility, no reason for any, against Mr. 
Helper ; but he was insolent in his lettsr, loud and open- 
mouthed in his censure of me. It was indispensable to show 
that I had some authority, or to leave the State. I took the 
responsibility ; assumed all the blame ; and believe I was 

That I was not vindictive, even towards the soldier who 


tried to provoke a mutiny that might have cost me my life, 
Gen. Burnside's letter proves. 

I will give you excuse for another essay, and furnish Mr. 
Colyer a subject for another picture, by mentioning another 
case of " expatriation." 

A respectable widow came to my office, with a lady who 
lived with her, informing me that a negro-man, accompanied 
by several soldiers, had entered her dwelling, and, with great 
rudeness, was searching every room in the house. I went to 
her dwelling, from which the negro and soldiers were just 
coming out. He was insolent, and seemed to be intoxicated. 
He had committed the same trespass upon other citizens, al- 
leging that he was authorized so to do by the provost mar- 
shal. This was not true. He had been employed as a detec- 
tive, but never to enter private residences. The sergeant or 
corporal who had charge of the guard, had brought them to 
the house at the request of the " colored gentleman ; " and at 
the request of the colored gentleman, without the order even 
of a captain, half a dozen soldiers, commanded by a free ne- 
gro from the North, were engaged in searching the houses of 
aged people and respectable widows ! 

If he had not been sent away, I should soon have commit- 
ted self-expatriation. 

But how is it, Mr. Sumner, that your holy indignation 
was never roused, when hundreds — sometimes helpless wo- 
men and children, sometimes clergymen, were expatriated 
in almost every Southern State — sometimes families driven 
from their homes, and not permitted to carry household furni- 
ture, or even clothing ? In some cases the power was prop- 
erly exercised, but in many, without justification or excuse. 

So much, then, for all these " acts." I stand by them. 
I believe they are right in the sight of God, and in the opin- 
ion of all but cowardly and fanatical slanderers. 

That I may satisfy all fair-minded people of the danger 
I was in, I give below the substance of a letter written by a 
clergyman of Northern birth and association, and a resident 


of a Northern State, who happened to be present at an in- 
dignation meeting held by the negroes. I am authorized to 
give this clergyman's name, but withhold it because, I sup- 
pose, like all gentlemen, he has no desire to attract notoriety. 
He makes no attack upon any one, and in the opinion of 
those who have known him well, wishes only to spend the re- 
mainder of his useful life, as. he has many years past, in 
"alluring to brighter worlds, and leading the way." 

" I give you a brief abstract of my recollections of a meeting I attend- 
ed in the African Church, in Newbern. The meeting took place on 
Sunday afternoon. The audience were wholly African, with the exception 
of, perhaps, half a dozen white persons. The preliminary services were 
conducted by a white man. After these were concluded, a long address 
was made by a United States soldier in uniform. The first part of it was 
rambling and vague, in thought and expression. During the latter part 
of it, he spoke of the circumstances in which his audience were placed. 
He said they were free ; that he himself, and the thousands with him, had 
enlisted in the army, and had come down there, for the sole pur- 
pose of breaking their chains, etc., etc. He then said, a man had appear- 
ed among them, with the title of Military Governor, who had begun his 
duties by sending back to her mistress, a slave who had left her. (Al- 
luding to the slave of Mrs. Bray.) But he was glad to say that she had 
been rescued again. And he wished to tell that Governor, that for every 
slave he attempted to send back into bondage, a dozen free men would rise 
up to rescue him. They had enlisted and come there for the purpose of 
freeing them, and unless they accomplished it, would have come in vain. 
He then went on to say, that they must not leave it all to their friends ; 
that if the Governor continued to send them back, they must take the 
matter into their own hands; that they must strike down everyone 
who stood in the way to freedom ; that they must break through every 
hindrance; that it would be better for every house to be burned, 
and the land made desolate, than that they should be made slaves 
again, etc., etc., etc. 

His manner was very excited. He occupied about twenty minutes in 
his attack on Governor Stanly's policy. 

After he concluded, the negroes were in a state of high excitement, 
when a class-leader in the African Church, a slave named Southey Fon- 
veille, arose, and commenced by saying, that they had listened to a very 
excellent discourse, which he wanted them to think about. But all parts 
of it were not suited to all. He wanted each to take the part that was 
suited to himself, and to think about it, and to get all the good he could 


from it, but not to go outside and talk about it. He then spoke in very 
kind terms of Governor Stanly, whom, he said, he had known from his 
earliest infancy, and had often held him on his knee, when he was a child ; 
that he was sure he would do nothing wrong to the colored people. 

He then likened their situation to the children of Israel coining out 
of Egypt — in the course of which similitude he went minutely over that 
part of the history of the Israelites, and showed how they had been led by 
the hand of God in every step they had taken. In a most graphic man- 
ner, lie described the journey of the Israelites from their homes to the 
shores of the Red Sea. He then pictured their situation there — with the 
sea in front, and Pharaoh's army behind, and no way of escape open. 
'Breddren,' said he, 'dar's where we are now! ' He then showed how 
the Lord opened a way through the sea, and that He would do the same, 
in his own good time, in their case, but they must wait his time, etc., etc. 
I was much impressed with the old man's eloquent speech, and it was not 
lost upon his previously excited audience." 

I confess, even after the lapse of years, I cannot read 
this account without emotion. I feel proud to say, that this 
old man, who probably saved my life, was born, and had lived 
many years, my father's slave. If he can read the Scriptures, 
it is more than probable I was one of those who taught him 
how. I had rather have his good opinion than the plaudits 
of fifty thousand Sumners and Colyers. 

By accident, Mr. Colyer, in his pamphlet, allows some 
truth to escape him. In speaking of the negroes, he says : 

" Many of their colored preachers exhort with great earnestness and 
power, and usually present the Gospel with simplicity and truth. One 
peculiarity of great, if not vital, importance, that must be considered in 
forming a plan for the proper and judicious treatment of this people, is 
their earnest and living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Without the abil- 
ity to read, except in a very few instances, with but little leisure to attend 
places of public worship, and, through long and painful years of oppres- 
sion, they have been blessed, by the grace of God, with a simplicity and 
clearness of understanding of the fundamental doctrines of the truth of 
salvation, as it is in Jesus Christ, that is most astonishing. If one would 
learn what precious comfort may be found in Christianity, in the midst of 
the severest trials with which human nature can be afflicted, let him go 
among this people. In the evening, after the toils of the day are over, 
you will hear, from the cabin of nearly every family, the sweet sound of 
hymns, sung with plaintive and touching pathos, to some familiar tune; 


and listen, quietly, as you pass by, and yon will hear it followed by the 
earnestly-beseeching voice of prayer. Their religious meetings are usually 
crowded. Before the rebellion broke out, these meetings had been dis- 
couraged by the State authorities, whether from fear of the slaves I 
cannot say, though I always heard this given as the reason." 

From whom did they learn the truths of Christianity ? 
From their owners— men and women, Christian slave-hold- 
ers 3 who felt the awful responsibility of having human crea- 
tures dependent upon them, for whose physical wants they 
were bound to provide, and for whom it was their duty to 
furnish religious instruction. And nobly, as a people, have 
the North Carolinians discharged their duty. Often and 
often have slaves been seen kneeling at the same altar, par- 
taking of the bread of life, with their masters. The most 
accomplished women of the South — but little lower than the 
angels — have felt a delight in performing their duty, while 
teaching, Sunday after Sunday, the little negroes the valuable 
truths of Christianity. In remote places, where churches 
were inaccessible, those whose misfortune it was to own large 
bodies of slaves, have employed preachers by the year, to visit 
their farms, and teach and preach to them Gospel truths. I 
know one case, of a most estimable gentleman, who employ- 
ed a Baptist and Methodist to preach to his negroes, accord- 
ing to their wishes, while his family were Episcopalians. In 
the town of Newbern — before the abolition trophy-finders 
came — a paradise for negroes — they had a church of their 
own, capable of holding near seven hundred persons. So 
great was the increase of religious persons among the Meth- 
odists, that the white people built a new church, and surren- 
dered the old one to the negroes. There they learned to 
" exhort, with great earnestness and power, and to present 
the Gospel with simplicity and truth." There they were 
taught " the fundamental doctrines of the truths of salva- 
tion, as it is in Jesus Christ," and " astonishing " only to 
such fanatics as Messrs. Sumner and Colyer. There they 
were taught to sing the songs of Sion. And from that 


house, more than forty years ago, I heard " the sweet sound 
of hymns, sung with plaintive and touching pathos," that 
seemed to reach the heavens, like the sound of many waters. 
And while their owners united with them in worship, their 
devotion was kindled, and their hearts filled with gratitude 
to the Great Jehovah, that, amid the tremendous responsi- 
bilities attending a slave-owner's life, their slaves could learn 
the inestimable truths of Christianity. 

The facts stated in an address published by clergymen of 
the South, of different dero ruinations, of the large number 
of negroes who were communicants, I have no doubt, from 
my own observation, are strictly correct. A large por- 
tion of the Christian world believe that the Scriptures 
should not be in the hands of the people ; that religious 
instruction can come purer from the teachings of the 
priesthood. Though I do not concur in this opinion, I 
would not, as some of your philanthropic brethren would 
do, destroy their churches because of this belief. It is, 
thank God, certain, that the truths of the Gospel confer 
blessings upon the learned and the ignorant ; and can be ap- 
preciated alike by the accomplished Philemon and the slave 
Onesimus. We do not read that, when three thousand were 
converted by St. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, they 
were first taught to read and write ; that they were great 
and noble ; but they were " out of every nation under heav- 
en." " Peter lifted up his voice," and they, " about three 
thousand souls," heard and believed. 

It is a great mistake, Mr. Sumner, to suppose that learn- 
ing always exalts the human character. It did not teach 
you what honor and fair dealing required in your intercourse 
with gentlemen. In fact, you afford an almost daily illustra- 
tion of the truth of John Randolph's remark, that, if a man 
has no common sense to build upon, though he may have 
much acquirement, and a good memory, he may be cursed 
with a collegiate education ; he is soon useless and ridiculous, 
and like a Virginia old field, " cultivated to death." 


Mr. Colyer made a report, as Secretary of the " Committee 
of Merchants for the Relief of Colored People suffering from 
the Late Eiots in the city of New York," in which, while he 
claims for the free colored people superiority over their South- 
ern brethren, in education and refinement, he says : " In 
physical strength and vigor of body, I think the Southern 
refugees are their superior." Here we have the admission of 
a most malignant abolitionist, that the slaves understand 
clearly the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and are 
also remarkable for " physical strength and vigor of body ! '' 

Mr. Vincent Colyer, though bent on philanthropy, evinces 
a " frugal mind." There is one white man for whom he en- 
tertains a large amount of charity, whose interests he does not 
entirely forget ; and that man is Vincent Colyer, preacher, art- 
ist, missionary and secretary. With ingenious modesty, he sug- 
gests to the Committee of Merchants, whether it might not 
be to the advantage and " lasting benefit of the colored peo- 
ple in New York city, to have this mission continued per- 
manently among them." Again — " Understanding that the 
present Committee, on the conclusion of its labors, will be 
disbanded, the idea has suggested itself, whether a committee 
could not be found who would place this friendly intercourse 
on a permanent foundation, and carry on the work as above 
suggested." Happy idea ! Ye rich men of the Committee, 
do something for Mr. Colyer, " permanently." To carry on 
the work, if no Christian charity is required, and no regard 
for truth necessary, Mr. Colyer may be serviceable. And if 
you cannot give him an office, recommend him for one. He 
cannot live without — he must have — an office. 

When I desired that by-gones should be by-gones, and to 
be relieved from the necessity of publishing anything that 
might wound your feelings, you declined, in answer to a civil 
suggestion, to make any reparation, by a withdrawal of the 
unjust remarks, in the " Atlantic Monthly," assailing me. 
You not only did this, but wrote an insolent letter, using of- 
fensive terms, and reasserting the charges complained of ; 


and, with characteristic modesty, you beg me to add your 
letter to any publication I may make. 

But first, let us have a communication addressed by me 
to the Secretary of War, to which reference is made by you : 

Head-Quarters, Department of North Carolina, ) 
Newbern, June 12£A, 1862. f 

Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War. 


Your letter of the 3d inst. has not received the " immediate " answer 
you requested, because I was absent in Beaufort when it arrived. 

You send me a copy of a resolution adopted by the House of Repre- 
sentatives, on the 2d inst. ; and desire I should furnish the Department 
"with a full and immediate answer" to the following part of said resolu- 

"Second. "Whether the said Edward Stanly has interfered to prevent 
the education of children, white or black, in said State, and if so, by what 
authority, if any." 

On the 31st of May last I addressed you a letter, which I presume had 
not been received when you wrote on the 3d inst. 

In that letter of the 31st, in reference to matters here, I made the fol- 
lowing observations : 

"The perplexing question of what is to be done with the negroes, is 
constantly presenting itself. I have thus far managed it with discretion. 
Upon all occasions I say, I have no hope of affording redress to the ene- 
mies of our country ; that the Union is to be restored, cost what it may 
in blood and treasure, and this is a matter not to be argued. 

" One person came to me yesterday, who had four slaves taken from 
him, and told they were free, by a rude soldier who cursed his wife. I 
suggested, first, that he must take the oath of allegiance ; this he agreed 
to do. Then I gave him authority to look for his property, advising him 
to use mildness and persuasion. He did so, and one servant voluntarily 
returned to the house of a kind master. This has already excited some 
evil-disposed persons, and will be misrepresented. 

"Almost all the inhabitants have gone away, and the belief still exists 
that it is dangerous for them to return. 

"The Confederates refuse to allow any persons to come to this place — 
keeping away even women and children. Unless I can give them some 
assurance that this is a war of restoration, and not of abolition and de- 
struction, no peace can be restored here for many years to come. I am 
making efforts to induce Union-men to come and talk with me. I feel 
confident I shall be successful in a few weeks. 


"One person ventured to give me advice. I gave him at once per- 
mission to go to New York. The person, whose impertinent meddling I 
rebuked, is Mr. H. H. Helper. 

"A gentleman of good Samaritan inclinations and acts, had established 
a school for negro-children. He called and informed me what he Avas 
doing, and asked my opinion. I approved all he had done in feeding and 
clothing the destitute white and black, but told him I had been sent to 
restore the old order of things. I thought his negro-school, if approved by 
me, would do harm to the Union cause. In a few months we shall know 
the result of the war. If, by Southern folly, emancipation comes, their 
spiritual welfare would not suffer by the delay, for I desired he would 
give such oral instruction in religious matters as he thought best. An- 
other reason I urged was, that by one of the cruel necessities of slavery, 
the laws of North Carolina forbade slaves to be taught to read and write, 
and I would be most unsuccessful in my efforts if I encouraged the viola- 
tion of her laws. He acquiesced, I thought cheerfully. If the old resi- 
dents ever return, those negroes who have been taught to read and write 
would be suspected, and not benefited by it. You have no idea how 
happy the influence has been on the minds of the excellent and severely 
punished people of this lovely town. This school-affair has already been 
much misrepresented." 

This extract might be sufficient to answer the resolution, but as you 
request not only an " immediate " but a " full " answer, it may be proper 
to add something more. 

To the extent mentioned I did interfere, and would most assuredly do 
so again under the same circumstances. 

My authority for so doing was the only instruction given me in your 
communication of May 20th, 18fi2, in the following words: 

" It is obvious to you that the great purpose of your appointment is to 
re-establish the authority of the Federal Government in the State of North 
Carolina, and to provide the means of maintaining peace and security to 
the loyal inhabitants of that State." 

I had these instructions in view, when I made the suggestion relative 
to the negro-school. 

And in your letter to General Burnside, of date 20th of May, to which 
you referred me, you state : 

"The province of Gov. Stanly is to re-establish, and maintain, under 
military form, the functions of civil government, until the loyal inhab- 
itants of North Carolina shall be able to assert their constitutional rights 
and privileges." 

I ask to be instructed what "civil government' 1 '' is here meant, and 
what are the " constitutional rights and privileges " of the loyal inhab- 
itants of this State. If their property is destroyed or removed before 
peace is restored, what "rights and privileges" are they to expect? 


In the interview with the manager of the school?, I made use of no 
threats, used no discourteous language, and treated the gentleman referred 
to with all kindness. He called the next morning and informed me he 
had suspeuded teaching the negro-children. I approved what he had 
done, but nothing approaching unpleasantness occurred during the inter- 
view, nor did the thought enter my mind I had given him offence.' Not 
a word was said, nor any intimation given of any intention to "enforce" 
the laws of this State. No such thought was in my mind, nor ever can 

I do not intend to be guilty of disrespect to the Secretary, nor to be- 
tray too much sensitiveness; and will not therefore comment upon what 
seems to me to be unusual language, in requesting an "immediate" 

My position is one of great responsibility. I am ready to meet it. I 
hope it is an honorable one. It can certainly bring no profit, and is not 
unaccompanied with peril. I have great difficulties to overcome — greater 
than you suppose, and am entitled to all the confidence and support which 
I was assured I should have. 

I believe the President to be sincere in his various public declarations, 
and wish to make the people of North Carolina believe him to be sincere 
and patriotic. 

But I am grieved to say, that some of the most eminent and influen- 
tial of our citizens, from listening to oft-repeated slanders, have been per- 
suaded, and charge, the Southern country is invaded by "an enemy, who 
come to rob us, to murder our people, to emancipate our slaves, and who 
is now preparing to add a new element to this most atrocious aggression, 
and involve us in the direful horrors of a servile war. He proposes noth- 
ing less than our entire destruction, the total desolation of our country — • 
universal emancipation, to crush us, to wipe out the South, to involve us 
in irredeemable misery and hopeless ruin." 

Though I know all this is the effect of long-continued excitement, and 
not words of truth and soberness, but of passion, and altogether incorrect 
in every particular; still, they are the words of sincerity from men of ir- 
reproachable lives, who denounced secession as treason, down to the day 
when the North Carolina Convention passed the ordinance of secession. 

If this idea, so monstrously incorrect, be in the minds of men of strni 
ing and influence, how must the large body of the people regard the 
action of the General Government? 

In view of this most deplorable condition, I avail myself of the privi- 
lege I understood from you I should have, of asking instructions upon the 
following points: 

1. When slaves are. taken from the possession of their legal masters, 
by violence offered by armed men and negroes, what redress shall be 
afforded to the owners and what protection for the future? 


2. "When persons connected with the army prevail on negroes to leave 
their masters, shall the loyal master or mistress have permission to pre- 
vail on them to return, and be protected while so doing? 

3. When steamers and vessels are almost daily leaving this State, and 
negroes, the property of loyal citizens, are taken on board, without the 
consent of their owners — who are sometimes widows and orphans — will 
authority be given to prevent their being removed? 

4. In cases where aged and infirm people, who have been always loya 
inhabitants — and treated with cruelty by secession soldiers because of 
their loyalty — have had their able-bodied slaves taken away, their barns 
robbed and fences destroyed, themselves unable from age and infirmity to 
labor — shall any effort be made, either by persuasion by the civil authori- 
ty or otherwise, to have them delivered up? 

5. If the Military Governor shall interfere with any action which it is 
known will violate the long-estabjjshed law of JSTorth Carolina, and a per- 
son connected with the army on the Sunday following shall make inflam- 
matory appeals to a crowd of several hundred negroes, exhorting them to 
resort to violence and bloodshed, what action shall be taken by the Gov- 
ernor, if any, to prevent the recurrence of such conduct ? 

6. When the slaves of loyal citizens — who have never given aid and 
comfort to the rebellion, and sometimes suffered because they did not — 
are employed by the authorities of the United States, in various kinds of 
labor, can any steps be taken to secure a portion of what is due for their 
labor to their owners? 

These are not cases of imagination : they have occurred, and are, most 
of them, coming before me for action daily. I will not weary or distress 
you by the details. 

I hope I am not exceeding the duties of my place, while I urgently, 
but most respectfully, request an answer to these questions. 

When I receive that answer I shall be able, without delay, to inform 
the Department how far I can be relied upon to carry out its wishes. 

Every day's experience impresses more forcibly on my mind the con- 
viction, felt by abler and better men than myself, that some course of 
policy must be adopted as to the disposition of slaves within our lines. 

If the army advances, and their numbers, already large, shall be in- 
creased, what is to be done with them? Who will support them or their 
owners— often loyal and true men, already reduced to want by the rebel- 
lion — who can make no crops without their aid? The expense of feeding 
the negroes will be enormous. It is estimated that each negro-man, em- 
ployed by Government, will require in wages and subsistence forty dollars 
per month, to support himself and family, who generally accompany him. 

It is my heart-felt desire to restore to my native State the countless 
blessings conferred by the Union. I am ready to make any sacrifice a 
gentleman and pat'-iot can make to do so. But if I cannot rely upon the 


'perfect confidence and full support of the War Department," which was 
promised me, I desire to know it. 

The loss of my humhle abilities will not be felt by this great country. 
If I am to act without instructions, and not to be supported when I 
pursue the deliberate dictates of my judgment and conscience, then I ask 
— the only favor I ever asked for my personal benefit of any administra- 
tion — to be allowed to tender my "immediate" resignation, and to be re- 
stored, as early as possible, to the honor of a private station. 
I have the honor to be 
. ' Your obedient servant, 

Military Governor of North Carolina. 

Had you no other means of reaching the public ear, I 
would gratify your request to publish your letter. 

It contains no argument worth answering. If any 
patriot of common sense, having any remnant of respect for 
you, should read it, he will conclude, with a majority of your 
countrymen, that you are not only an ill-mannered, but a 
crack-brained fellow. But you can be heard. You can have 
your letter published in some paper of large circulation. 
Speak it in the Senate. Print it in the " Atlantic Monthly ;" 
its publishers will treat you with the courtesy they have not 
extended to me. 

But I will not withhold the evidence upon which your opi- 
nion is founded. 

You refer me to the " Congressional Globe," 2d Session, 
37th Congress, part 3d, pp. 2,477 and 2,596. 

On p. 2,477 I find: 

"Mr. Sumner said — 

"I have the official report of this extraordinary transaction. 

"In a conversation between Governor Stanly and Mr. Colyer, the Gov- 
ernor stated that there was one thing in Mr. Colyer's doings, as superin- 
tendent of the poor, a question would be raised about, indeed it had been 
already, and that was his (Colyer's) keeping school for the blacks. 'Of 
course you are aware, 1 said the Governor, 'that the laws of the State 
make the opening of such schools a criminal offence. My instructions 
from Washington were that I was to carry out the laws of North Carolina 


precisely as they were administered before the breaking out of this unhappy 
affair; so, if I were called upon for a decision in the matter of your 
schools for the blacks, I would have to decide against you ; but, at the 
same time, I don't want anything done abruptly. As a man, I might do, 
perhaps, as you have done; but as a Governor, I must act in my official 
capacity, according to my instructions, and administer the laws as I find 


" Clerk to Mr. Colyer. 
" A true copy. 
" Newbern, May 28, 1862." 

Then follows a further statement : 

" Mr, 0. C. Leigh, who was with General Saxton in the Oriental, on 
his way to South Carolina, as confidential agent of the National Freed- 
men's Relief Association, and who has just returned, asked Mr. Colyer 
what he should do. Mr. Colyer replied, i I must close the schools, as I 
cannot consent to continue to place myself in a situation where I am liable 
to be punished, according to the laws of North Carolina.' Mr. Leigh is 
Chairman of our Home Committee." 

I have italicised one or two lines in the above " official 

To all by whom I am known I am willing to leave the 
charge of my closing the schools upon my own statement. 
Mr. Mendell's certificate was evidently drawn up by Mr. 
Colyer. So far from contradicting, it supports my state- 
ment ; for, according to this " official report," I said, " if I 
were called upon for a decision," &c, and " Mr. Colyer re- 
plied, " I must close the schools." 

Mr. Colyer is not only a silly, but an excitable and timid 
man. He probably thought he was in danger of severe and 
horrible punishment. But why not appeal to General Burn- 
side ? The General would have objected, and had I deter- 
mined to close the schools, I should, in deference to him, 
have yielded ; for, " as a man," I told Mr. Colyer I had no 
fault to find with his schools. 

Mr. Mendell no doubt shared Mr. Colyer's excitement. 
It will be seen Mr. Mendell says, I was " instructed " to 


" carry out the laws of North Carolina precisely as they were 
administered before the breaking out of this unhappy 

Before I left Washington city I had asked for instruc- 
tions ; had left my home in San Francisco, not doubting I 
would have instructions. I had been advised by an intimate 
friend, in whose integrity and judgment I placed great confi- 
dence, that I ought not to go to North Carolina without in- 
structions ; I had asked the. President for instructions, after 
Mr. Stanton had declined to give them, and the President 
referred me to Mr. Seward, and he, in complimentary terms, 
said I needed no instructions, &c., &c. When I first ar- 
rived in Newbern, and called on General Burnside, I told 
him of the painful responsibility I felt in having no in- 
structions. In my letter to the Secretary of War it will 
be seen I referred to this fact ; and yet the Colyer certificate, 
the " Official Beport," makes me declare I had " instruc- 
tions " to carry out the laws of North Carolina precisely as 
they were " administered " before the rebellion ! 

The whole country knew that martial law had been pro-r 
claimed,*and that all courts within our lines had been sus- 
pended ; no man in his senses would have thought of 
attempting such an impossibility. 

I had no intention of interfering with his schools. With 
indecent pertinacity he insisted upon having my opinion : 
he said he wanted my approbation. Knowing, as I did, that 
a large majority of the people of North Carolina were opposed 
to secession, and anxious to be restored to the protection 
of that flag in defence of which thousands of them were 
willing to die, I thought it not prudent to give my appro- 
bation — it being entirely useless for any good purpose to do 
so — of anything which was calculated to enable secession- 
traitors to excite prejudice against me. 

" Mj offence hath this extent — no more." 


Mr. Colyer more than once said : 

"These schools had been under way about six weeks when Governor 
Stanly arrived; on his making known to me his opposition to their con- 
tinned existence, I (Vincent Colyer) stopped them." 

The President and Secretary of War were overwhelmed 
with complaints against me ; every source of information 
was open to them : there was no scarcity of philanthropic 
patriots ready to take my place. I was a stumbling-block 
in the way of thieves and trophy-finders. I was no office- 
seeker, and was unwilling to hold office one hour after my 
conduct was disapproved by the President. My opinions 
and acts had been boldly avowed and justified, and yet the 
President and Secretary not only tolerated, but expressly 
approved what I had done. Of this, I confess, I am proud 
and grateful. With painful apprehension I entered upon an 
untried theatre : without precedent or instructions, relying 
upon the patriotism and integrity of these high officers. I 
did not rely upon them in vain ; and though I differ widely 
upon great public measures with them, I have uniformly 
spoken of them with the courtesy, respect, and kindness, 
which justice demands. 

With their approbation I may and do laugh to scorn the 
malignant falsehoods of a regiment of Sumners and Colyers. 

I would not, for the sake merely of exposing the ridiculous 
pretensions of Mr. Colyer, state a fact in relation to the 
schools for negroes in North Carolina, but justice to the people 
of Newbern requires it. 

Mr. Colyer has illustrated his fables by a picture repre- 
senting negroes — women with babies in arms, and little chil- 
dren—rushing into his "public school," and beneath this pic- 
ture are these words : 

" The first public school for colored people in North Carolina, establish- 
ed by Vincent Colyer, April, 1862." 

Alas for the instability of human glory ! 


It is a fact well known to residents in Newbern, that, for 
many years before the rebellion, there were schools for negroes 
in that town. One school was taught by a free-woman, the 
wife of a slave, a carpenter — an honest, worthy man, who was 
living in that town in 1862. I know one gentleman who 
had a slave who was a pupil in that school. 

Besides this school, there were two musical societies for 
adults, meeting one evening in each week, to study and prac- 
tise vocal music. 

There was one school taught on Sundays, by a white 
woman, where the negroes learned to read. 

In the year 1856 and afterwards, both the Methodist and 
Episcopal churches sustained Sunday Schools for colored 
children, where they were taught to read. 

And the Christian people who allowed and sustained 
these schools, are represented by Vincent Colyer as inhuman 
barbarians, keeping negroes in a state of ignorance, and de- 
priving them of all religious instruction ! The fact is, that 
the law was always odious to the people, was passed under 
the excitement produced by an insurrection in Virginia, and 
only kept on the Statute-books to deter abolitionists from 
circulating their infamous publications. In hundreds of 
families negroes were taught to read. And so goes another 
feather from the jackdaw's borrowed plumes. 

Your letter of 29th January, 1865, needs no answer. 
"What I have written already is answer enough. Argument 
and reasoning are thrown away upon one who believes 
" slavery to be the sum of all villanies " ; who, sworn to sup- 
port the Constitution of the United States, constantly dis- 
regards its injunctions, and who is now, by virtue of his position 
as Senator, a leader of that class of infuriate fanatics, who 
want an " anti-slavery constitution, an anti-slavery Bible, 
and an anti-slavery God." I would as soon do anything to 
secure their approbation, as I would catch a runaway slave, 
steal a horse, stab in the dark a hospitable college-mate, or 
deliberately bear false witness against my neighbor. 


I have accounted for your malice ; but how to find a 
reason for Mr. Colyer's, I confess puzzles me. He made no 
complaint of incivility on my part. When he returned to 
Newbern after his visit with you to the President, and came 
back with another supply of " jellies, colored pamphlets, 
blackberry brandy," &c, &c, I did not interfere with him. 
As far as I know his schools were continued ; they gave me 
no annoyance, and I let them alone. Yet he has published, 
with malice aforethought, a pamphlet, in which he devotes 
several pages to slander me. Self-defence justifies me in 
refuting his falsehoods. But, besides his misrepresentation 
of me, his pamphlet proves what many in the army and in 
civil life thought of him : that he was the most credulous 
philanthropist that ever followed an army. 

He gives a disgusting picture of " Miscegenation at the 
South " — a horrible story, manufactured by and for him. 
To complete it, he should have added, that the brute he 
spoke of had regularly for breakfast a roasted negro. Mr. 
Colyer can " strain at a gnat and swallow a camel." He 
shudders with holy horror at one case of miscegenation, and 
yet, had he been willing to see, he could have learned the sad 
fate — among abolitionists — of hundreds of those " beautiful 
girls " of whom he writes in such glowing terms. 

For the sake of his " friends" the less Mr. Colyer says 
upon that subject the better. 

Mr. Colyer gives a romantic story, called " History of a 
Scout," " written down from his own lips " ! in which he 
speaks of a man who kept a pack of " bloodhounds," used in 
hunting negroes. I have lived in North Carolina more than 
forty years, and, as a candidate for Congress, travelled over 
ten counties — the district I represented being nearly two 
hundred miles in extent ; I practised law there, in several 
counties, nearly twenty years, with every opportunity for ob- 
servation ; and I do not remember that I ever saw a blood- 
hound. I never knew a man of whom it was reported that 
he kept bloodhounds. Some one case like that Mr. Colyer 


mentions may have existed, but I doubt it. Bat, suppose it 
to be true : are all the people of North Carolina to be judged 
by this one monster ? Within the last week I have seen an 
account, in a free State, where a man murdered his wife, his 
father, and his mother. I can find more instances of wife- 
murder, and other horrible crimes, in any free State, than can 
be found of men who kept bloodhounds to catch negroes in 
North Carolina. 

But admitting, for argument's sake, that more than one 
man kept bloodhounds, in a State where there were more than 
three hundred thousand slaves : the white people were treated 
with more inhumanity ; for abolitionists and emissaries of 
Prison Aid Societies in Europe, " savage men, more savage 
still" than bloodhounds, were put upon the tracks of our un- 
fortunate white people. 

I was informed by respectable and loyal persons that it 
was a matter of frequent occurrence for soldiers in the army 
of the United States to catch .negroes, who had fled to our 
lines for protection, and to return them to the enemy for the 
reward offered — sometimes fifty dollars, or less. Shall, there- 
fore, our whole army be accused of carrying on the inhuman 
slave-trade ? With as much truth and justice as the people 
of North Carolina are denounced for keeping bloodhounds to 
catch negroes. 

Mr. Colyer could find no good thing that any white per- 
son ever did in that good old State. He came there under 
the belief that they were all brutes, and acted accordingly. 
To his colored " sisters," as he fondly called them, he was 
most courteous and considerate ; to the most worthy but un- 
fortunate white people, who were compelled, by the pangs of 
starvation, to ask for food, his conduct was often offensive 
and insulting. So many complaints were made of the rude- 
ness of negroes, encouraged by abolitionists, it became ne- 
cessary to appoint a Superintendent of the Poor, as well as a 
" Superintendent of the Freedmen." I knew of one family 
who would not submit to the violence of Colyer and his 


friends — declined to apply for provisions, and were supported 
by the efforts of a faithful slave, who commiserated their 
condition. I did not publish these complaints, nor wish to 
injure Mr. Colyer ; but he probably knows the complaints 
were made, thinks I believed them, and, therefore, slanders 
me. If Mr. Colyer had watched my conduct in Newbern 
closely, he must have known that there was scarcely a day in 
which I was not called upon to interpose in behalf of some 
poor negro, treated inhumanly by some abolition soldier. 
Sometimes my office was crowded with negroes, asking pro- 
tection, which was never refused. They could not always see 
the General Commanding ; his important duties made it im- 
possible^ sometimes for days, to see me. Often and often 
they were removed, and threatened to be removed, from their 
houses, by subordinate officers and soldiers, and I interposed 
and prevented the attempted wrong. Again and again have 
I forbidden soldiers to remove their garden-fences to build 
stables, or for firewood. I have interposed — never without 
the approbation of the General Commanding — to relieve them 
from imprisonment, when, unjustly or by mistake, they were 
confined. Had they applied to Mr. Colyer, he would have 
given them a jar of "jelly," or an "illustrated report," and 
have told them to sing " Hallelujah ! his soul is marching 
on." But for anything else — " that's not in our line." 

Until a few years ago both white and black were buried 
in one common enclosure ; it became crowded, and the ne- 
groes had a grave-yard of their own, enclosed with a neat 
wooden fence, built, as I was informed, by subscription among 
the whites. There their honored remains rested, unmolested 
by white slave-holders, who respected their " rude memo- 
rials," as they, 

"With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked, 
Implored the passing tribute of a sigh ;" 

and, although wood was abundant in the neighborhood, the 
philanthropic friends of humanity, the men of "moral ideas," 


destroyed the fence for fire-wood. When I heard that 
"the old order of things was trampled out/' unmindful of 
Mr. Sumner's opinions, I exercised the "unconstitutional 
power," against " injustice and barbarism," of issuing an 
order to the Provost-Marshal to prevent the consummation 
of the outrage. It was arrested for a short period, but in a 
few weeks the fence around the grave-yard was all gone. The 
report made in answer to my order was, that they had 
" asked and received permission from some of the freedmen ! " 
To them, the request from a soldier was a command. The 
abolitionists acted in the spirit of the highwayman, who met 
a traveller, and, with pistol in one hand and his hat humbly 
held in the other, said, " In the name of the Virgin, alms !" 

I remember another instance of abolition humanity for 
the negro. An old colored man had lost his cow ; she was 
found in the yard of a house occupied by a Massachusetts 
philanthropist. I issued an order that the cow should be re- 
stored to her owner ; this was refused by a note in writing, 
unless the negro would first pay for feeding the cow ! The 
abolitionist made no allowance for the milk — feeding her, 
too, upon Uncle Sam's hay ! A Massachusetts gentleman, 
ashamed of his countryman, begged me not to report the case 
to the General. I consented, and, according to his promise, 
the cow was delivered up in less than two hours. From no 
person, white or black, was any money demanded or received 
by me, or by any one by my consent, for anything done in 
their behalf. To the negroes, in numerous instances, permis- 
sion was given to cultivate abandoned fields, and to cut and 
sell wood; and no "idea ever suggested itself" of making 
money for granting such favors. 

Some of Mr. Colyer's " friends " cannot say as much with 
truth ; the less they say on this subject the better. 

Of the outrageous injustice and cruelty practised to ne- 
groes by abolitionists elsewhere I will not speak now. The 
facts have been published by Northern men. They have died 
on the Mississippi by thousands, from want of food and cloth- 

* 39 

ing. Even now, from the halls of the House of Kepresenta- 
tives, report comes of their dying by starvation in sight of 
the National Capitol. 

I remember the case of two negro-men who had lived in 
the country — had lost their property, because they had taken 
refuge within our lines ; they had rendered valuable services 
to General Burnside, who had, upon leaving the Department, 
commended them to my favor. A house had been provided 
for them in town, where they lived in comfort with their 
families. They came to see me, saying they were ordered to 
leave the house immediately, with their wives and children, 
by a " soldier-man." Having resigned, I was preparing to 
leave, but immediately made the facts known to General 
Foster, who promptly interposed. 

And here I take pleasure in saying that I can remember 
no instance of doing anything that incurred the disapproba- 
tion of either General Burnside or General Foster, who com- 
manded in North Carolina while I was there. I consulted 
them whenever their engagements allowed, and tried to, and 
did, relieve them of much troublesome labor. These and 
other West-Pointers, brave on the battle-field, even ferocious 
against armed rebels, never tarnished their fame by stealing, 
trophy-finding, or robbery of unoffending citizens. But it 
was impossible for them to watch the enemy and take care 
of the morals of abolition Colonels, Majors, Captains, &c, 
&c, at the same time. 

They never, when requested, refused to exercise their 
authority to protect innocence or prevent robbery. 

Had the war in North Carolina been conducted by sol- 
diers who were Christians and gentlemen, that State would 
long ago have rebelled against the rebellion. But, instead 
of that, what was done ? Thousands and thousands of dol- 
lars' worth of property was "conveyed North" — libraries, 
pianos, carpets, mirrors, family portraits — everything, in 
short, that could be removed was stolen by men abusing 
" flagitious " slave-holders, and preaching " Liberty, Justice, 


and Civilization." I was informed that one regiment of 
abolitionists had " conveyed North " more than forty thous- 
and dollars' worth of property. They literally " robbed the 
cradle and the grave." Family burying vaults were broken 
open for robbery; and in one instance, (the fact was pub- 
lished in a Boston paper, and admitted to me by an officer 
of high position in the army,) a vault was entered, a metal- 
lic coffin removed, and the remains cast out, that those of a 
dead soldier might be put in their. place. Against these 
brutal and beastly barbarities, who has ever heard the voices 
of Sumner and Colyer raised ? " Bloodhounds, Miscegena- 
tion, Liberty, Justice, and Civilization ; give every negro - 
child a spelling-book and one of Colyer's illustrated reports," 
would be the song of these philanthropists." 

" That's in our line." 

Cases were numerous where old men, upon the most 
frivolous pretexts, were thrown into prison, and often their 
houses and barns destroyed by fire after they were robbed. 
I remember one instance where several houses were burnt 
and robbed, and among others that of a Methodist preacher, 
whose Bible and little library and only horse were stolen. He 
was brought to Newbern, and lodged in a felon's jail, where 
he remained several days, before I heard of it. No man, since 
St. Stephen was stoned, ever bore injuries with more Christian 
spirit — humble, resigned, even submissive. He used no 
words of anger or reproach. He had never polluted the pul- 
pit by preaching politics, and was without the disposition or 
ability to bear arms, having for years suffered from a severe 
bodily injury. I tried, with General Foster's generous aid, to 
recover his books, but in vain. I complained to the General 
of these barbarities, of the bad effect they would produce 
upon the minds of the people of the State. He ordered a 
Colonel who commanded the expedition to call on me, to hear 
what the clergyman had lost, and to see whether any re- 
covery could be effected. Nobody was to blame for burning 
the house : a party of sailors or marines had accompanied 


the expedition ; the army officers blamed the marines, the 
marines blamed the soldiers. The Colonel told me he could 
not prevent stealing ; for while the clergyman's house was 
being robbed, he left his valise in one room, and went into 
another for a few minutes, and it was robbed while he was 
gone. For any reparation made to this good man, whom I 
had long known and respected for his unaffected piety and 
life, I was denounced for " protecting rebels." 

Take another example of abolition brutality to prisoners : 
one party, on a military expedition, had taken several 
prisoners. On returning to Newbern, they came through 
Pamlico Sound : they tied the hands of one prisoner behind 
him, and threw him overboard in its deep and dark waters. 

When I found prisoners were confined in jail, who had 
been men of good character — sometimes old men, taken by 
our troops on occasional raids, against whom no charge of 
crime or treason was made, but captured to prevent their 
giving information — I took them from the association of 
felons to a house, where, though forbidden to leave, they 
were comparatively comfortable. For this act of humanity, 
often extended to men known for their life-long opposition to 
secession, and to honest people arrested on suspicion, the 
abolition letter-writers vilified me for putting rebels in a 
" palatial residence." 

I may be furnishing you, Mr. Sumner, with material for 
another essay ; but no matter, so you affix the name of " your 
faithful servant, Charles Sumner," to it. I know you will 
not be " personal." I may be guilty of the folly of reviving 
matters sunk in oblivion. But I prefer the truth should be 

The Kev. Horace James (referred to by Mr. Colyer as one 
of " the best friends of the freedman to be found in the coun- 
try"), wrote a letter, under the sanction of his own name, 
making assertions not very complimentary to some officers of 
the army, nor to myself. Upon General Foster's calling the 
attention of Mr. James to the impropriety of writing such 


letters, and to the injustice of his statements, he wrote a let- 
ter correcting them in part. One statement he did not cor- 
rect, believing, no doubt, he had reported the truth. When 
I called his attention to this, very politely, giving, as my 
reason, my unwillingness to be censured by a clergyman, he 
promised to give me his author. 

He brought me a statement in writing, I think, sworn to 
by William 0. Brown, of the 25th Mass. Volunteers, in which 
Brown says that in July or August, 1862, he heard Captain 
(now Col.) E. E. Goodrich say that I had given the superinten- 
dent of the poor orders for provisions, which he (Goodrich) 
believed were for the benefit of persons in the rebel army, and 
to feed their wives and children ; and, further, Mr. Brown 
stated that Capt. Goodrich said : 

A short time before this, three ladies, well dressed, and of cultivated 
appearance, came into his office, with an order from Gov. Stanly, requir- 
ing him to deliver them such provisions or commissary stores as they 
might call for. The crier was unlimited. 

In answer to a letter from me, Col. Goodrich says he 
" firmly believes that Lieut. Wm. Brown, with whom I had a 
conversation, did not intentionally misrepresent my language. 
I did not say that you gave unlimited or indiscriminate or- 
ders for subsistence ; to the contrary, every one of your orders 
was most specific, and, in my opinion, entirely proper and 
judicious. * " ::: " * ° I repeat to you at this time the 
assurance contained in my other letters, that all of my inter- 
course with you, both social and business, was of the most 
pleasant and satisfactory nature. I believe your administra- 
tion of the duties incumbent upon the Military Government 
of North Carolina to have been most just and discriminating, 
and it gives me great pleasure in relieving you from any impu- 
tation which any misunderstanding of my declarations may 
have caused." If I remember right, the letter of Mr. James 
appeared in a paper called " The Congregationalism" I do 
not remember in what New England town it is published. I 


do not know where Mr. James now is. Should he see this 
letter, I shall hope, though late, that he will make the cor- 
rection due to one who gave him no offence, and as becomes 
a Christian and a gentleman. Upon the unpleasant attitude 
in which Wm. 0. Brown appears I make no comments. I 
hope he will be more careful when he makes affidavits im- 
peaching my conduct. 

This is a specimen of the sort of warfare that was carried 
on against me. 

Another instance. What was called a "public meeting" 
was held, in which resolutions were passed, denunciatory of 
my conduct in ordering an election for a member of Congress. 
Upon a report made after careful examination, by an intelli- 
gent officer, it appears that a few — I think less than a dozen — 
persons assembled, and several of them made oath that the 
resolutions had been changed by an unprincipled " soldier of 
fortune," to whose hands they had been entrusted to be for- 
warded to Washington. Thus forgery was joined to false- 
hood in the work of detraction. 

I am giving a true history, Mr. Sumner, of the conduct of 
those who are encouraged in their infamous work by wicked 
men in high places. And now, Mr. Sumner, hoping you will 
not regard as "personal" what I have written, I take my 
leave of you» 

I ought to thank you for the excuse you have furnished 
me of contradicting reports calculated to injure me. I have 
spoken plainly of Mr. Colyer ; in the words of the illustrious 
hero-statesman, Winfield Scott, " the natural and Christian 
right of self-defence " justifies it. 

I omit to say other things which might not add radiance 
to the laurels with which he thinks he has adorned his brow. 
I treated him in North Carolina with tenderness 'and consid- 
eration, under the belief that he was a "preacher," and, 
therefore, to be respected. I knew " the man was mortal and 
was a schoolmaster," and therefore made allowances for the 
egotism and silly eccentricity which marked his conduct, and 


which brought upon him the ridicule of army officers, by 
whom he was called the " apple-sauce philanthropist." After 
he closed his school, and went to Washington city, having 
made speeches reflecting on me, he returned to Newbern. 
With kind courtesy, when he called to see me, I mentioned 
the fact that he had done me injustice, and was mistaken in 
supposing I said I intended to "enforce" the laws. of North 
Carolina. I thought he was animated by the spirit of a gen- 
tleman when he said he would correct it ; he published a card 
to that effect, and in his illustrated pamphlet he very shab- 
bily indulges in a pitiful quibble, and re-asserts his falsehood. 
His "friends" complained of one act of decent behavior ! 

Mr. Colyer seems to have as much aversion to telling the 
truth as you have to any measure calculated to restore peace 
to our country. He seems unable, by pencil or pen, to pour- 
tray anything truly. I know not by what code of " moral 
ideas " he can be acquitted of doing intentional wrong. 

In one of his pictures he represents two negroes " defend- 
ing Newbern, February, 1864," against countless rebels. 
Since the days of Samson, and Hercules, and Falstaff, no 
mortals have performed such wonderful feats. The " colored 
sergeant " who " did not know a letter of the alphabet " when 
he first became a pupil of Vincent Colyer, in March, 1862, 
and could so soon write such a letter as Mr. Colyer says he 
received from him, will be remembered, while Mr. Colyer's 
pictures are, as a more wonderful hero than was ever sung of 
by poet or pictured by historian. His credulity is as ridicu- 
lous as his disregard of truth is disgusting. 

But while he makes demigods of the negroes he does not 
forget to magnify his own deeds. According to his own 
statements, that most useful and noble organization, the 
Christian Commission, owes its origin to his suggestion. It 
may be so ; great results are sometimes brought about by 
most insignificant instruments. If the cackling of geese 
saved a city, such an idea might have " suggested itself" to 
Vincent Colyer. 


He not only claims credit for having "driven" the Mili- 
tary Governor to commit himself " irrevocably to the Free 
State policy," but he, Yincent Colyer, "had secured the 
right of the refugee slaves to their freedom, and to be edu- 
cated ! ! " So now, Mr. Abraham Lincoln, you may hang 
your harp on the willows. A large portion of mankind give 
you the credit of securing freedom to refugee slaves by the 
Proclamation of 1863. It is all a mistake — hang your dimin- 
ished head. Vincent Colyer, the incarnation of truth and 
charity, did it all. And the Military Governor was driven by 
Colyer's manifestation " of popular feeling " to commit him- 
self "irrevocably to the Free State Policy ;" and the proof 
is that he resigned his office because he could not support the 
Proclamation ! 

But I let Mr. Colyer go. I am in danger of forgetting 
the old adage — " He is a poor sportsman who shoots game 
not worth the bagging," 

I know, Mr. Sumner, that I am above the reach of your 
malice. I was a young man when first in Congress, and 
often, in times of party excitement, I have said much that I 
would wish should be forgotten. I did injustice sometimes to 
those who were strangers to me. But you deserved all that 
was said of you. The coalition by which you were first 
elected was denounced in Massachusetts as a " crime." You 
would soon have passed away and have been forgotten, or only 
distinguished before conventions of spiritualists, or of wo- 
man's rights, but for the unjustifiable punishment you re- 
ceived in the Senate-Chamber. " I regret to say what I 
must, but truth compels me." While all good men united 
in condemning your assailant, they felt hearty contempt for 
your pusillanimous winnings at home and in Europe. 

The liberty-loving people of Massachusetts regarded the 
attack upon you as violating the liberty of speech. You be- 
came the representative of an idea ; and to this alone you 
owe your continued election. 

Though in private life, I know I am entitled to as much 


respect as you are. I have never solicited office from the Gen- 
eral Government. When I left North Carolina I went to 
avoid the cares and impoverishing honors of public life. In 
California, when I accepted the unsolicited nomination of the 
Republican party as their candidate for Governor, in 1857, 
they were in a minority ; it was then a reproach to he called 
a Republican. They were defeated by the " Know-Nothing " 
and Democratic parties. Afterwards, when the wicked re- 
bellion caused patriots of all parties to act with the Repub- 
licans, and they came into power, though I voted for their 
candidates, I have neither asked for nor expected to receive 
any of the spoils of office, which belong to the victors. 

I left my distant home and went to my native State, with 
the patriotic hope of inducing her people to return to their 
duty. That I did some little towards protecting the inno- 
cent and defenceless, I know ; I thank the Father of the 
fatherless that I was the humble instrument of doing any 
good. Though I saved thousands of dollars' worth of prop- 
erty for others, I made not a dollar, or thought of making 
one for myself. My political opinions were not concealed 
from the President. I am not aware that any act of mine as 
Military Governor was censured by him. 

From the beginning of my public life to this day, " among 
beasts at Ephesus" in the South, and in the House of Repre- 

O'er lake, o'er marsh, through fevers and through fogs, 
'Midst bears and Yankees, Democrats and frogs, 

no man has been more constant or earnest in denouncing Se- 
cession, or Nullification, as Treason. 

By extremists of the South, because I spoke of slavery 
as an evil, and advocated and voted for tariffs to protect 
American labor and industry, I was called an abolitionist, 
and a Southern man with Northern principles. No man can 
accuse me of doing anything to encourage sectional feeling. 

I resigned the position of Military Governor because I 


could no longer hold it with any hope of doing good to North 
Carolina ; nor with honor to myself or justice to the admin- 
istration. I believed, and still believe, that the Emancipa- 
tion Proclamation would make the war more bitter, and pre- 
clude all hope of peace. Two years' experience justifies this 

Should Lee's army be captured, and Richmond and Charles- 
ton taken, still there can be no peace for many, many years, if 
the counsels of abolition prevail. If every slave-owner in North 
Carolina should advocate immediate emancipation, there are 
several hundred thousand non-slaveholders, anti-slavery men, 
who will demand to be heard. They will tell you you will 
not allow them to come to Massachusetts, and ask you how 
they are to be provided for ? Who will furnish them land ? 
They will never consent — any man of common sense, with 
any knowledge of human nature, knows it — that they should 
remain among them and be free. 

Be comforted, Mr. Sumner. Lay aside your fears.. There 
is no hope of peace at present. Enjoy while you may the 
delights of your present position. In a few years you will 
awake to a knowledge of the truth, that you are regarded 
as a fantastic dreamer, as destitute of common sense as of 
courage, full of crotchets and political whimsies. And when 
men ask, " How could the glorious old commonwealth of 
Massachusetts, the land of Adams, Webster, Davis, Choate, 
and Everett, have sent such a man to the Senate ? " the an- 
swer will be, " Alas ! poor human nature ; did not the child- 
ren of Israel, even under the leadership of Moses, and after 
the revelations from Mount Sinai, bow down and worship the 
molten calf ? " 

I am, dear Sir, 

" Your faithful servant," 



To Hon. Edward Stanly. 

War Department, "Washington, ) 
May 12th, 1863. \ 

In accepting your resignation as Military Governor of North Carolina, 
I cannot but express my regret that the Government, in this trying hour, 
should lose the benefit of your able and patriotic service. 

It is my duty and pleasure to state that all the functions devolved upon 
you during your official connection with this Department, onerous and 
vexatious though many of them were, have been discharged with a 
zeal and fidelity unsurpassed by any public servant. 

Your intercourse with this Department has been marked by the cour- 
tesy that has eminently distinguished your personal character, and your 
official business has been conducted with promptness and alacrity. 

I trust that honor and prosperity will attend you through life, and 
that you will always enjoy the pleasant reflection of having faithfully 
performed a high and responsible duty to your Government in the hour of 
its trial. 

With sentiments of profound respect and sincere friendship, I have the 
honor to be, 

Your obedient servant, 

Edwin M. Stanton, 
Secretary of War.